Tim Arcano, an ocean engineer with extensive experience in naval submarine and submersible design and engineering was selected as director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Arcano is slated to begin Nov. 7.
OER provides direction to NOAA and advises the U.S. Department of Commerce in the field of ocean exploration, research, and advanced technology development. A key element of OER is the Okeanos Explorer Program. It combines America’s ship for ocean exploration, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, with shore-based high-speed networks and infrastructure for live communications, including HD video of the seafloor, to scientists and other audiences ashore. It is the only federal program dedicated to systematic telepresence-enabled exploration of the world ocean.
“I am excited about joining the NOAA OER team to apply science and advanced technologies in ocean exploration and research. This is a tremendous opportunity not only to explore unknown reaches of the ocean in ways that serve NOAA and national objectives, but also to engage people of all ages in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” Arcano said.
While serving as the Corbin A. McNeill Endowed Chair in Naval Engineering at the United States Naval Academy, Arcano sought to engage student interest in underwater exploration technologies, including his development of a course on Engineering of Submersible Systems.
Previously, he was deputy chief of nuclear safety at the Department of Energy where he spearheaded initiatives on safety-in-design of nuclear facilities and project management. He also served as technical director for the VIRGINIA Class Submarine Program.
During his service with the Navy, he engaged in identifying promising ocean technologies, planning advanced technology developments, and directing the transition of advanced technologies to meet Navy needs. He retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of commissioned service (active and reserve) as an engineering duty officer qualified in submarines, as a salvage diving officer and as an acquisition professional. For the National Science Foundation, he served as an ex-officio member of the Replacement Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Oversight Committee, overseeing the development of the replacement for the submersible Alvin.
Arcano earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ocean engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and an Ocean Engineer Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in national resource strategy from the National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and a Ph.D.in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Maryland.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.